A new report by WalletHub ranked Texas as the fifth worst state for women to live in. (Credit: Lewis Ashton, Pexels.com)

All women who are thinking about moving to Texas may want to think again.

The personal finance company WalletHub this week released its ranking of the best and worst states for women to live in for 2024, based on metrics that include economic and social well-being, healthcare and safety.

According to the report, Texas was the fifth worst state for women to live in, followed by Alabama (No. 4), Mississippi (No. 3) and Louisiana (No. 2). Oklahoma took the top spot as the worst state for women.

Texas’ rank may come as no surprise for some, due to the populous state’s high-profile reproductive restrictions. In 2023, the Texas Supreme Court overturned a Dallas woman’s request for an abortion after she learned her fetus would put her life at risk. The state currently has two primary laws restricting abortion at all stages of pregnancy.

“In the new post-Roe landscape, one of the fundamental concerns for women of reproductive age is whether the state where they live and work is safe for them and their families, especially during pregnancy,” said Mary Godwyn, a history and society professor at Babson College in Massachusetts, who was quoted in the report. “Women are choosing to live in states where they have confidence in policymakers and the legal system.”

Other healthcare-related factors that determined scores in WalletHub’s report include quality of women’s hospitals, women’s life expectancy at birth, and access to health insurance. 

To determine the scores for each state, 25 metrics were calculated on a 100-point grading scale, with 100 representing the most favorable conditions for women. The bottom five had scores of less than 40. 

Another state that stood out on the report was Mississippi, notably one of the poorest states in the country. The state had the highest number of women in poverty and the lowest life expectancy for women. It was also among the states with the lowest high school graduation rate for women and the lowest percentage of women-owned businesses.

On the flip side, the report concluded that the top states for women to live in were Maine (No. 5), Vermont (No. 4), Minnesota (No. 3), and Washington D.C. (No. 2). Massachusetts took first place, with the lowest number of uninsured women. It was also among the states with the lowest homicide rates and highest life expectancy for women.

Availability of healthcare and childcare are some of the factors that both men and women should consider before moving to a new state, according to Karen Beckwith, a political science professor at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio. She also listed full reproductive rights and paid maternity and parental leave as the “two most important public policies for women.”

“The potential negative health consequences for women make it imperative that states make legal and support the provision of the full range of reproductive health care,” she said. Having paid maternity and parental leave would also “encourage employed women, in whom firms have invested in terms of training, to return to their same workplace when they are ready,” she added.

Some state-level public policies that can also help women thrive include elimination of tipped wages, more affordable housing, sustainable food systems, full gender and sexual violence prevention, and student loan forgiveness, among others, experts noted.